Clearing up the CBD Question in Colorado: Is It Legal?

As one of the most search questions on Google, I thought I'll answer everything you need to know.

Clearing up the CBD Question in Colorado: Is It Legal?

CBD, or cannabidiol, has been making waves in the media as more and more states are legalizing the use of marijuana. Although it is the second-most prevalent chemical compound in cannabis, CBD is actually derived from the hemp plant, a cousin to the marijuana plant; it does not induce a “high,” and is instead promoted for its supposed health benefits. No concrete studies have been performed or published as of 2019, but many people laud the healing powers of CBD when it comes to anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and even epilepsy; as a result of these claims, the compound can be found in everything from lotions to bath bombs to toothpaste!

However, cannabidiol’s close relationship to marijuana—which is still fully illegal in 10 states—has caused confusion over whether or not the sale of CBD products is lawful. Colorado was one of the first states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, but each state has its own laws and regulations regarding the production and sale of cannabis and cannabidiol. This begs the question: is CBD legal in Colorado? Let’s take a closer look.

The Colorado-Cannabis Connection

The chaos surrounding the legalities of CBD is directly tied to its connection to marijuana. Considering Colorful Colorado’s open-minded history with the drug, this has caused a disparity between state and federal interpretations; the federal government still considers CBD to be in the same class as marijuana. Most states focus on where the CBD is coming from, be it the marijuana plant or the hemp plant. Understanding Colorado’s history with marijuana can help us fully grasp its relationship with hemp.

2000: Medical marijuana is legalized in Colorado.

2010: The country’s first state-regulated marijuana dispensary is created.

2012: Recreational marijuana is legalized in Colorado.

2013: Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution is passed, enacting regulation regarding the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp.

Amendment 64 defined industrial hemp as “a plant of the genus Cannabis and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3% THC) on a dry weight basis.” This distinction allowed the state to regulate hemp cultivation, clearly distinguishing it from its cannabis cousin. In other words, although Colorado has not specifically legalized CBD, it is considered legal under broad marijuana and hemp laws.

Not So Fast

That being said, not anyone can start growing hemp and pumping out CBD products; there are a number of rules and legislative restrictions you must abide by. The Colorado Industrial Hemp Program is in place to ensure those interested in cultivating hemp (either with the intent of creating commercial products or pursuing research) are following these rules and restrictions. In addition to an initial application, hemp farmers are expected to use Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) Approved Certified Seed, pass a number of tests, and submit to inspections.

Even if you emerge through the other side of these legalities unscathed and successfully producing hemp and CBD products, local and regional laws can impact sales. For example, the sale of CBD products intended for human consumption are prohibited by the city and county of Denver if health department sanitation approval has not been granted.

So, there you have it. Is CBD legal in Colorado? It depends! The best way to ensure you’re not breaking any laws or drawing outside any regulatory lines is to do your research. If all the legal loopholes and limitations are setting your brain on fire, you can always turn to a law firm experienced in marijuana and hemp legislation.

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Tobias Gillot
See all posts by Tobias Gillot